Like many of Marsden Hartley’s late marine landscapes, After the Storm, Vinalhaven expresses the artist’s sympathetic response to the elemental strength of his native land. The subject is the rocky seacoast in the vicinity of Vinalhaven Island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay. In the foreground, wind-whipped waves lash unyielding stone, storm clouds pass overhead, and, in the distance, a pine-covered shoreline broods in solid silence. The movement of wind and water is plainly evident through the artist’s use of dynamic diagonal lines and short choppy brushstrokes. Overall, the impression is one of contained power as the force of the storm balances the strength of the rock. Born in Lewiston, Hartley led a peripatetic existence for much of his life before returning to Maine in 1937. A pioneering modernist, he desired at his career’s end to be known as “the painter of Maine.”
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